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ALVIN AND THE CHIP­MUNKS: THE SQUEAKUEL

Thanks a lot, kids. Ap­par­ently enough of you saw the 2007 live-action adap­ta­tion of Alvin and the Chip­munks that the stu­dio is bring­ing Ja­son Lee and the shrill CGI ro­dents back for more butcher­ing of 2009’s big­gest songs and 1997’s hippest slang. Rated PG. 92 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Not re­viewed)

James Cameron’s ad­ven­ture — about an ex-sol­dier (SamWor­thing­ton) who uses a syn­thetic body to in­fil­trate a race of

AVATAR

gi­ant blue aliens and help the mil­i­tary tap into their nat­u­ral re­sources— fi­nally hits screens. The script is stale and the pic­ture is an hour too long, but the planet of Pan­dora is the most fully re­al­ized fic­tional world that’s ever been put up on screen. The at­ten­tion to de­tail is ex­traor­di­nary, and the ef­fects are way ahead of the curve. Rated PG-13. 162 min­utes. Screens in dig­i­tal 3-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. Also shows in 2-D at Reel Deal, Los Alamos. (Robert Ben­ziker)

Di­rec­tor Jim Sheri­dan has made a classy but emo­tion­ally un­der­done re­make of Su­sanne Bier’s 2004 Dan­ish drama about two broth­ers. One is a war hero and fam­ily man; the other is an ex-con. Broth­ers deals with the hid­den mor­tal­ity of war— the deaths that go un­recorded be­cause the de­ceased are still alive and out­wardly func­tion­ing. Rated R. 104 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

BROTH­ERS

This crowd pleaser re­counts the story of Michael Oher (Quin­ton Aaron), a home­less Mem­phis teen who, af­ter be­ing taken in by the wealthy Tuohy fam­ily, went on to be­come a first-round NFL draft pick. It’s a feel-good yarn that would be nau­se­at­ing if it weren’t true, but it scores the ex­tra point for not go­ing long into melo­dra­matic ter­ri­tory. San­dra Bul­lock, Tim McGraw, and Ray McKinnon give solid per­for­mances, and the film is the first movie with a fe­male lead to make more than $200 mil­lion at the box of­fice. Rated PG-13. 128 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Lau­rel Glad­den)

THE BLIND SIDE

BRO­KEN EM­BRACES

Pe­dro Almod­ó­var has spent decades craft­ing bil­lets-doux to film, and while not his finest, this may be his most pas­sion­ate and rev­er­en­tial. Pené­lope Cruz plays Lena, an ac­tress and mis­tress to ty­coon Ernesto ( José Luis Gómez) who gets a part in di­rec­tor Ma­teo Blanco’s (Lluís Ho­mar) lat­est film. She and Ma­teo fall in love, but Ernesto is jeal­ous and venge­ful. Almod­ó­var tells their tale through flash­backs, con­jur­ing up pas­sion and hu­mor in a noirish drama of the Hitch­cock­ian per­sua­sion. Rated R. 127 min­utes. In Span­ish with sub­ti­tles. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Lau­rel Glad­den)

This en­dear­ing first fea­ture from writer-di­rec­tor Amin Matalqa is an­chored by a low-key but com­mand­ing per­for­mance from Nadim Sawalha as an el­derly jan­i­tor at the Amman air­port who one day finds an air­line cap­tain’s cap in the trash. When he wears it home, neigh­bor­hood urchins take him for an in­ter­na­tional pi­lot and beg him for sto­ries of the world. Af­ter ini­tially dis­cour­ag­ing them, he em­braces the ruse and be­comes emo­tion­ally in­volved

CAP­TAIN ABU RAED

in the lives of the kids. The movie is some­times a bit un­likely and melo­dra­matic but still ab­sorb­ing and up­lift­ing. Not rated. 102 min­utes. In Ara­bic with sub­ti­tles. The Screen, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MOR­GANS?

Hugh Grant and Sarah Jes­sica Parker play a sep­a­rated mar­ried cou­ple who are thrust into the gov­ern­ment’s wit­ness pro­tec­tion pro­gram af­ter they wit­ness a mur­der. They’re sent outWest to hide, where they try to mend their re­la­tion­ship and milk cows. Grant and Parker give it their all, but a poor script and lack­lus­ter di­rec­tion weigh the whole thing down. Rated PG-13. 103 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Nott)

Film­maker Wes An­der­son proves to be a per­fect match for chil­dren’s au­thor Roald Dahl as he and a tal­ented team of voice ac­tors and stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tors bring Dahl’s novella about a crafty fox and three nasty farm­ers to life. They’ve man­aged to make a film that is herky-jerky and slightly sur­real in the clas­sic stop-mo­tion tra­di­tion. It’s per­fect for adults and chil­dren without pan­der­ing to ei­ther au­di­ence. Rated PG. 87 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker)

It’s yet an­other vam­pire movie, but this time, there’s a twist: it takes place in the fu­ture. Most of the peo­ple in the world have been trans­formed to vamps, and those who re­main are har­vested for their blood. Alas, so­ci­ety is op­er­at­ing at peak blood (al­le­gory alert!) and the sup­ply is run­ning out. Vam­pire sci­en­tist Ed­ward (Ethan Hawke) is looking for an al­ter­na­tive food source when he meets two hu­mans (Willem Dafoe and Clau­dia Kar­van) who may have a cure for vam­pirism. Rated R. 98 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Not re­viewed)

DAY­BREAK­ERS

FAN­TAS­TIC MR. FOX

IN­VIC­TUS THE IMAG­I­NAR­IUM OF DOC­TOR PAR­NAS­SUS

Doc­tor Par­nas­sus (Christo­pher Plum­mer) is a show­man with as­ton­ish­ing pow­ers of the imagination that open up a fan­tas­ti­cal world. So, for that mat­ter, is wri­ter­di­rec­tor Terry Gil­liam, the one-time an­i­ma­tion wizard of Monty Python whose best films (and this is one of them) make a bit of magic. The movie is haunted by the death of its star, Heath Ledger, dur­ing shoot­ing, but the so­lu­tion Gil­liam found to re­place him does honor to his friend. Rated PG-13. 122 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See re­view, Page 32.

Mor­gan Free­man cap­tures the dig­nity, com­pas­sion, and wis­dom of Nel­son Man­dela in di­rec­tor Clint East­wood’s beau­ti­fully crafted movie. It’s an ac­count of the strat­egy used by the new South African pres­i­dent (fresh from 30 years in prison) in 1994 to bring to­gether a coun­try riven with post-apartheid re­sent­ment and fear by fo­cus­ing on the na­tional rugby team’s pur­suit of the­World Cup. Pre­dictably feel-good but filled with sub­tle touches and char­ac­ter ob­ser­va­tions and fine per­for­mances, par­tic­u­larly by Matt Da­mon as the team cap­tain. Rated PG-13. 134 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

This frothy com­edy from writer/di­rec­tor Nancy Mey­ers re­volves around a naughty bit of adul­tery in­volv­ing a man (Alec Bald­win) hav­ing sex with his wife (Meryl Streep). The com­pli­ca­tion arises from the fact that she’s not his cur­rent wife. There’s noth­ing wildly orig­i­nal here, but it’s funny, and it lets us es­cape for a cou­ple of hours into a world where ev­ery­thing is beau­ti­ful, even ad­vanc­ing mid­dle age. Rated R. 118 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards)

IT’S COM­PLI­CATED

This doc­u­men­tary by Fred­er­ick­Wise­man shows the huge and some­times dan­ger­ously icy bulk that sup­ports the magic of the Paris Opera Bal­let: dancers re­hears­ing with manic in­ten­sity, tech­ni­cians and cos­tumers at work, ad­min­is­tra­tors ar­gu­ing with union per­son­nel, and the mil­lions of de­tails it takes to make one per­fect mo­ment hap­pen on­stage. The film never lets us see in­side minds and hearts: we are sep­a­rated from the dancers byWise­man’s ap­proach and con­cept. The re­sult feels al­most sec­ond­hand; the movie is filled with a sort of glo­ri­ous sad­ness amid the tri­umph. Not rated. 159 min­utes. In French and English with sub­ti­tles. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Craig Smith)

LEAP YEAR LA DANSE: LE BAL­LET DE L’OPÉRA DE PARIS

Ro­man­tic come­dies are hardly ever sur­pris­ing, but this lame new ad­di­tion to the canon of­fers lit­tle that’s funny or mem­o­rable other than scenery. Amy Adams is ill-suited for the role of petu­lant type-A Amer­i­can Anna, who fol­lows her boyfriend (Adam Scott) to Dublin, where, on Feb. 29,

tra­di­tion “al­lows” women to pro­pose mar­riage. She en­lists the help of scruffy, churl­ish De­clan (Matthew Goode); the two mock, in­sult, and ar­gue with each other un­til, nat­u­rally, they fall in love. Let’s hope we don’t get an­other movie this unin­spired for at least four more years. Rated PG. 97 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Lau­rel Glad­den)

Chilean film­maker Se­bastián Silva’s sec­ond fea­ture is a char­ac­ter study of a tru­cu­lent do­mes­tic ser­vant, Raquel, bril­liantly played by Chilean star Catalina Saave­dra. The Maid is not re­ally a sys­temic in­dict­ment, though it makes us think about the sys­tem. Raquel’s dis­gruntle­ment could oc­cur as eas­ily in an in­sur­ance clerk or a postal worker. In the end it’s the in­di­vid­u­al­ity of Silva and Saave­dra’s por­trait that gives the movie its strength. Not rated. 96 min­utes. In Span­ish with sub­ti­tles. The Screen, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

THE MAID

NINE

Rob Mar­shall’s lat­est mu­si­cal is adapted from a 1982 Broad­way pro­duc­tion based on Fed­erico Fellini’s 1963 film 8½ , but it has wan­dered so far from Fellini that, as far as trans­lat­ing an au­then­tic Ital­ian ex­pe­ri­ence goes, it’s more Olive Gar­den than Trat­to­ria Nos­trani. Daniel Day-Lewis tries his best, but the mu­si­cal num­bers are all duds, and a sup­port­ing cast of gifted ac­tresses (in­clud­ing Judi Dench, Mar­ion Cotil­lard, and Pené­lope Cruz) is squan­dered. Rated PG-13. 110 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker)

Pre­cious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is a poor, il­lit­er­ate, obese teen who lives in Har­lem with her abu­sive mother (Mo’Nique). She’s about to be kicked out of school when her prin­ci­pal tells her about a school where she can pur­sue her GED. With its cor­nu­copia of mis­ery, Pre­cious al­most seems like a new type of hor­ror film, but it suc­ceeds thanks to su­pe­rior per­for­mances and by run­ning on re­al­is­tic hope rather than syrupy op­ti­mism. Rated R. 110 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Lau­rel Glad­den)

PRE­CIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL “PUSH” BY SAP­PHIRE

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

Dis­ney re­turns to hand-drawn an­i­ma­tion in this beau­ti­fully ren­dered re-imag­in­ing of E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess. When hand­some prince Naveen (Bruno Cam­pos) pulls into New Orleans in search of a wealthy bride, his plans are dashed by a voodoo witch doc­tor (Keith David) who turns him into a frog. A woman named Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) wishes upon a star and kisses the frog, but she gets a lot more than she bar­gained for. Rated G. 95 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe. (Rob DeWalt)

This docu­d­rama by film­maker Peter Greenaway ex­am­ines in de­tail the con­tent and con­text of Rem­brandt’s 1642 paint­ing The Night­Watch. Part lec­turer and part in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter, Greenaway puts him­self in the film and sifts through the cast of char­ac­ters in Rem­brandt’s paint­ing— who, ac­cord­ing to the di­rec­tor, are all sus­pects in a mur­der that the painter al­ludes to in this sem­i­nal work. Not rated. 86 min­utes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Dou­glas Fair­field)

2012

REM­BRANDT’S J’AC­CUSE

SHER­LOCK HOLMES

Robert Downey Jr. com­bines wit, in­tel­lect, and an action hero’s phys­i­cal vir­tu­os­ity in a tour-de-force up­dat­ing of the sleuth of Baker Street. De­spite a few lag­gard mo­ments, di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie has pulled off an en­ter­tain­ing coup in giv­ing us a Holmes for the 21st cen­tury by dig­ging back to the orig­i­nal and adding a few bells and whis­tles. Rated PG-13. 128 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards)

In his lat­est dis­as­ter film, Roland Em­merich uses half-baked in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Maya prophecy and ex­ten­sive CGI tech­nol­ogy as ex­cuses to de­stroy the en­tire world. One crazy scene, in which the hero ( John Cu­sack) takes a limo and a small plane to nar­rowly es­cape L.A. fall­ing into the ocean, is epic

With his third fea­ture, di­rec­tor Ja­son Reit­man ( Juno) de­liv­ers a comic win­ner with un­der­tones of con­tem­po­rary angst. Ryan Bing­ham (an im­pec­ca­ble Ge­orge Clooney) spends most of his life on planes, hap­pily trav­el­ing to the cities where he fires peo­ple as a hired gun for down­siz­ing cor­po­ra­tions. Anna Ken­drick and Vera Farmiga are bril­liant as the two women in Ryan’s life. Rated R. 109 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos. ( Jonathan Richards)

Michael Cera ex­cels as Nick Twisp, a teenager so shy and awk­ward that he in­vents a bad-boy al­ter ego to land the lo­cal cu­tie at the trailer park (Por­tia Dou­ble­day). The young lovers make a pleas­ant cou­ple, and the movie is nicely weird, but it is a bit too in love with its weird­ness and could use a few straight men in the con­sid­er­able comic cast. Rated R. 90 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos. (Robert Ben­ziker) See re­view, Page 32. in its silli­ness. Un­for­tu­nately, 2012 is flooded with too many talk­ing heads and too much melo­drama. Oh, the hu­man­ity! Rated PG-13. 158 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker)

UP IN THE AIR

THE YOUNG VIC­TO­RIA

YOUTH IN RE­VOLT

Emily Blunt is lovely and strong-minded as the young Vic, and Ru­pert Friend is a charm­ing Prince Al­bert once he over­comes a first meet­ing with the Queen ap­par­ent in which he plays the awk­ward­ness rather than try­ing to dis­guise it. Out­stand­ing sup­port­ing work comes from Jim Broad­bent, Mi­randa Richardson, and Paul Bet­tany. With a lit­er­ate script by Ju­lian Fel­lowes ( Gos­ford Park) and fluid but some­times self-con­scious di­rec­tion from Jean-Marc Val­lée, this biopic is in­for­ma­tive, el­e­gant, and lushly ro­man­tic. Rated PG. 104 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

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